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Comment Re:Er...so it was about greed? (Score 1) 123

To say that "there can be no free market in the absence of regulation" is equivalent to saying that there can be no free market, period. A regulated market, by definition, is not free.

Despite all his insights, Adam Smith contradicted himself on many points, including on the subject of regulation. Fortunately, we are not bound by his mistakes. The early pioneers in any field tend to get many things wrong, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Those who come after will naturally keep the best parts and discard the mistakes. The idea that the market requires regulation is simply one of those areas that Smith got wrong. He couldn't see how certain problems could be solved while keeping the market free. However, others who later built on his work were able to find better solutions and do away with those inconsistencies.

Comment X has unrealistic expectations about Y (Score 3, Insightful) 217

In other news, I hear a bunch of buggy makers expect to be able to pass their trade down to their grandson.

Or coal miners expecting a boom in coal consumption.

Or unskilled laborers expecting those pesky computers and robots to disappear someday.

Or Americans expecting to work less, produce less but get paid more than the other 80% of humanity forever and ever.

Comment Re:Medieval Guild Structure (Score 1) 647

It's not really that imbecile's fault - indeed they might not even agree with the law but still feel they have a duty to enforce it.

If their job would require them to enforce a law they believe to be unjust then they should resign rather than contribute to harming others through the enforcement of that law. The excuse that they were "just doing their job" does not shield them from responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

Comment Re:And you apparently do not understand calculus (Score 1) 337

OTOH, taxation based on income treats everyone the same regardless of whether they spend their money wisely or foolishly.

So people who took advantage of the opportunities available to them should have to pay more taxes, while others who had exactly the same opportunities but choose not to exploit them should have to pay lower taxes and qualify more easily for government aid?

Taxation based on income does not treat everyone the same. Those who take better advantage of the opportunities that come their way are penalized compared to others who let those same opportunities pass by but were equally wise or foolish in spending what money they did earn.

Comment Re:Ontario, largest subnational debtor on the plan (Score 1) 501

OK, so the government owes us money. So what's the problem?

The problem is that any repayment you receive on that loan will be coming from the taxpayers, i.e. from you. That's great (for you) if you happen to hold an exceedingly large portfolio of government bonds, so that the net interest you receive fully offsets your taxes. Otherwise it's a net loss. From the average taxpayer's point of view it's simply bad debt, along the lines of buying consumer goods with a credit card and continually applying for more credit rather than paying it off each month.

Comment Re:I like functions... (Score 1) 405

So you were treating (**) as the free variable? That works, provided the operator actually appears as a function argument or local variable in an enclosing function context. References to global definitions do not create closures in Python. (The value of a global variable or function definition is looked up at each call, not captured as part of the lambda.) However, in that case you can't really refer to (**2) as "the squaring function" since (**) could do anything, not just exponentiation.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 1) 405

... we'll keep rolling our eyes and ignoring you.

It's your loss. BTW, the mathematical definition of a "function" as a fixed mapping from objects in the domain to objects in the range has been around a whole lot longer than the (mis)use of the term to describe procedures or subroutines in (some) programming languages. The idea that "state" implies mutation is commonplace even within the more mainstream areas of the computer programming industry, not just among functional programmers.

Comment Re:I like functions... (Score 1) 405

** is a function of two variables. The 2 is coming from a different context. **2, as a squaring function is a closure.

(**2) is a Haskell-style "operator section" which would be shorthand for "lambda x: x**2" in Python. This lambda has no free variables and thus is not a closure. An example of a closure would be the second lambda in "lambda x: lambda y: x**y", which closes over the free variable "x". You can also do this without lambdas:

def pow(x):
____def curried(y): return x**y
____return curried

# returns closure of lambda y: x**y, capturing x=2
f = pow(2)

# returns 2**4
f(4)

(Pretend the underscores are spaces.) The important part is that the function you are capturing includes references to free variables inherited from its original context.

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